Fast FactsApplications: Studio, post production
Key Features: Two-way; 6.9-inch polypropylene woofer; twin 50W amplifiers; high-pass filter
Price: $1,250 per pair
Contact: Dynaudio Acoustics at 818-665-4900, www.dynaudioacoustics.com.The Dynaudio Acoustics BM5A is a compact yet high-performance monitor that works well in a wide variety of monitoring situations especially those where space is a concern. The monitor is well suited for music monitoring and mixing, broadcast mixing, edit suites, playback suites, project studios and smaller post production facilities. The monitor’s small size in tandem with the renowned Dynaudio Acoustics performance makes the BM5A suitable for smaller 5.1 productions. When space is limited, the combination of the BM5A with the BM10S subwoofer delivers a full-blown 5.1 system with a remarkable performance at an extremely reasonable price.
The BM5A monitor measures 186mm (7.3 inches) wide x 320 mm (12.5 inches) high x 290 mm (11 inches) deep. The two-way active bass reflex system features a 175mm (6.9-inch) woofer and a 28 mm (1.1-inch) soft dome tweeter. The BM5A utilizes two 50W amps to deliver a frequency response of 50 Hz – 21 kHz. A pair of BM5As have a maximum SPL (at 1 meter) of 115 dB peak. A BM5A 5.1 configuration has a maximum SPL (at 2 meters) of 116 dB peak. The speaker features an Esotec soft dome, magnetic fluid-cooled tweeter with a 4 mm die-cast aluminum front, pure aluminum wire voice coil and a one-piece molded polypropylene cone woofer with a pure aluminum voice coil.
The rear panel of the BM5A includes a host of connectors and switches. The fused power receptacle accepts a standard IEC cable. The power switch turns the amplifier’s power on and off. Audio input is via a female XLR connector and is electronically balanced. Five switches allow the monitors to be set up for optimum performance in various acoustic environments.
A high-pass filter switch sets the lower cut-off frequency of the monitor. It is used to match the monitor to a subwoofer. It can be set to flat, 60 Hz or 80 Hz. Flat is used when the monitors are being used without a subwoofer.
The sensitivity trim switch is used to match the input gain of the BM 5A monitor to the source. The three position switch can be set to -10 dB, 0 dB or +4 dB.
The LF (low filter) switch controls the bass gain level using a shelf-type EQ. The level can be set to +2 dB, 0 dB, -2 dB or -4 dB. This filter is used to adjust for the proximity of boundaries. Dynaudio recommends that if the monitors are positioned close to a wall or corner, the –2 dB setting should be used and if positioned far from the walls, the +2 dB or 0 dB position, depending on other equipment and personal taste, should be used.
The MF (mid filter) switch activates a bell-shaped notch filter used to compensate for the acoustic effect of the console. The switch activates a bell-shaped notch filter. The three position switch can be set to 0 dB, -2 dB or -4 dB.
The HF (high filter) switch controls the level of the high frequencies and is used to match the high end of the monitor to the other electronic equipment and the acoustical environment. The switch can be set to +1 dB, 0 dB or -1dB.
There are two LEDs located on the front of the speaker. The first LED illuminates green to indicate that the speaker is powered on. The second LED has two functions. It illuminates orange when the input signal activates the internal limiter which is designed to prevent the internal bass amplifier from clipping. It illuminates red when the amplifier gets too hot. At this point the monitor self-mutes in order to reduce the temperature. The BM 5A monitor has several built in protection systems to reduce the risk of hazard or damage due to overloading. Both power amplifiers have thermal protection that activates if a problem should occur, and helps protect both the electronics and the loudspeaker drivers. There is also a thermal sensor measuring the temperature on the heat sink. An electronic circuit will mute the signal when too high temperature is reached. The protection diode on the front will light up when this happens.
On the tweeter output there is an overload protection to prevent burning the tweeter driver in case of overloading. This circuit will mute the tweeter signal if too much current is fed to the tweeter. The woofer channel has a built-in limiter that protects the woofer unit from too much excursion. It works by reducing the gain of the circuit when a certain threshold level is reached.
The attractive BM5A has the classic Dynaudio look. After admiring the review pair for several minutes, I set all of the settings to flat and set them next to my faithful PMC AML-1 monitors. Over the course of mixing for the next couple of days I routinely went back and forth between my AML-1s and the BM5As. My initial impression was not very good. The monitors had an abundance of bottom end and the low frequencies were tubby and lacked definition. I have had over a dozen pairs of monitors in my studio over the past decade and I’ve always been reluctant to use any kind of equalization on the monitoring system but in this case, I varied from my norm and set the low filter to -2. The bottom end improved drastically. After a couple of days of listening I tried the low filter set to -4 and found that this to be the perfect setting for my control room. I was finally hearing the quality of sound that I attribute to Dynaudio monitors. I kept the monitors set up for the next couple of weeks and was continually impressed with their performance. They have very low distortion which allows sonic flaws to be easily discerned and they have excellent imaging. As I mixed on the monitors, I noticed that my work translated fairly easy to all of my points of reference (car stereo, home stereo, boom box, etc.).
After using the monitors for a few weeks at my studio I moved them into a house that I converted into a studio for a one-week tracking project. The control room was a large room with no sonic treatment. I was both surprised and pleased to discover that the monitors had their best performance with all switches set to flat.
The BM5A’s are excellent monitors that are the best I’ve heard in their price range (they list for $1,250/pair and can be purchased for less than a grand). My only complaint is that Dynaudio should have used a Neutrik combo jack that accepts both 1/4-inch and XLR connectors instead of a standard female XLR connector. This would greatly improve installation flexibility as well as easy adaptation into temporary studios. Since the BM5As are fairly compact, I would anticipate that many users would be frequently moving them from one location to another.
The BM5As offer a flat-sounding, distortion-free sound at an extremely affordable price.